The first symptom that most people who develop shingles notice is pain. This pain can feel like an aching, tingling, or other type of pain, and can be so serious that it can lead the sufferer and their caregivers to think that they are suffering from issues such as kidney or liver problems.
A few days after this pain develops, the sufferer will experience a rash that can also be severely painful and itchy. Coping with these symptoms can be very difficult for your elderly parent, diminishing their quality of life as well as their mental and emotional health and well-being. As their family caregiver, it is extremely important that you take the steps to help them to properly cope with this pain so that they can continue to focus on their recovery.
Use these tips to help support your parent through the pain of shingles:
Acknowledge it. The first step in helping your parent to cope with this pain is simply to acknowledge what they are going through. By helping them to understand that you know that they are in pain and that it is serious, you are showing them that they are not being dramatic and encouraging them to be honest and open with what they are going through so that together you can seek out the treatment and management options that will help to reduce this pain.
Talk to their doctor about using over-the-counter pain medications to help cope with the pain of the rash. Keep in mind that not all pain medications are appropriate for all seniors, and any other health complications and challenges that they might be dealing with could make it so that these the medications are not an option for them. Do not encourage your parent to take any medications that they have not first discussed with their doctor.
Help to ease itching and pain by using cold compresses on the area. Do not apply ice or ice packs directly to the skin, but using a cold wet washcloth or cold packs with a towel on the skin can reduce these uncomfortable symptoms.
Reduce itching by encouraging your parent to use calamine lotion on the rash. Discuss this use with their doctor first to ensure that it is appropriate for your parents particular situation and to get recommendations for how to apply it safely and effectively. Keep in mind that while your parents cannot transmit shingles to you, they can spread the virus that causes chickenpox so if you or your children have not had chickenpox, you can get sick.
If your elderly parent has been struggling with challenges that you do not feel you can meet, your schedule is too busy for you to give them the level of care that they need, you struggle with your own limitations that keep you from giving them adequate care, or you simply feel that they would benefit from more diversified care and attention, now may be the ideal time for you to start elderly care for them.
Through elderly care your aging parent can manage their challenges and limitations, seek a more active and engaged lifestyle, and maintain as much independence as possible as they age in place. The services can include safe and reliable transportation, assistance with personal care needs, help with keeping the home clean and tidy, meal preparation, and companionship to support mental and emotional health and well-being.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in North Hills PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.